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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  March 18, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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or fill a big order or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com. hello, everyone. i'm stephanie gosk at msnbc headquarters in new york. this hour, we expect to hear from vice president mike pence who is in jacksonville, florida, to pitch the republicans' plan to repeal and replace obamacare. we'll bring you those remarks, live, as they happen. president trump is also in florida this weekend, at mass mara lago club in west palm beach. after hosting german chancellor angela merkel at the white house, the commander-in-chief is taking to twitter to demand germany pay more for the protection u.s. provides. the potential feud with an ally
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in just a bit. we're following breaking news thisour. a pern is in custody after the secret service says the individual jumped over a bike rack near the white house. they say the person never made it to the actual fence, but the threat level at the white house was increased because of the incident. video taken by a witness shows officers in the area. this comes just a week after a man jumped the white house fence and was loose on the grounds for more than 16 minutes. now to florida, where vice president mike pence is touring a local business in jacksonville. the vice president spending his second weekend on the road selling the republican health care bill. let's go right to msnbc's mar anna atenso there for us. why jacksonville, and what do we expect to hear from the vice president today? >> reporter: so stephanie, let me broaden it out to you for why jacksonville, florida. florida has 27 members of
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congress, six republican. and donald trump and mike pence will need every vote they can get. but this new gop health bill is a tough sell here in florida. florida is the state with the highest number of enrollees under obamacare. we're talking 1.7 million people just this year. that's compared to 9.2 million nationwide. and duval county, specifically, where we are now, it's a county where donald trump won the election, just by 2% of a vote. and to give you more concrete examples, take a 60-year-old male here in duval county, making $30,000 a year. he stands to lose around $3,000 a year in coverage under the new plan versus obamacare. so that's why you have gop lawmakers in florida, like miami's ross-lleyton saying she flat out will vote no on this bill. we're also expecting
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demonstrators rally against mike pence and the gop proposal. also some pro-trump supporters we have seen on facebook will be outside. so in a way, florida and jacksonville, a microcosm of those tensions around health care we're seeing across the country. >> thank you very much. and one house will be republican source tells nbc news republicans are plan to go ve is thursda on their plan to repeal and replace obamacare on what happens to be the seventh anniversary of the signing of the affordable care act. despite leaders' plans, the house bill facing stiff object sessi opposition. ohio's john kasich, michigan's rick snyder, nevada's brian sandoval and arkansas hutchinson spending a letter to speaker ryan and leader mcconnell in opposition to the house bill's medicaid provisions. they included an alternative
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plan to reform medicaid that offers more flexibility to the states. joining me now to discuss is republican congressman, robert pittenger. thank you very much for joining me today. >> afternoon, stephanie. >> as of today, 20 of your republican house colleagues do not support this legislation. would you advise the leadership to vote on this bill next week? don't you think they won't have the votes that they'll need at this point? >> i think we have a great framework. and obviously, leaving the status quo is not acceptable. obamacare is structural not capable of existing and providing health care to the american people. it's collapsing on its own weight. that's really not an option. i think there are individuals, and i'll be at the white house tomorrow, for meeting with the vice president. but there is input right now being given. at the end of the day, i think we're going to comeogether and pass a great health bill that will allow the individuals to take over their health care again and take it out of
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government mandates. >> congressman, you wrote an opinion piece in the "wall street journal," where you emphasized the need for compromise. were you speaking directly to people within your own party who seem opposed to certain aspects of this bill, pretty ardently? >> well, i have really commended ronald reagan and his leadership. and ronald reagan always said i'll take 80% and come back for the rest later. and we need that spirit today to be able to transform a health care in this country. look at what needs to be done with medicaid. it has been reformed in 50 years since its inception. and this provides important reforms for medicaid. so we can have it and sustain ourselves economically as a country. >> let me go back to that meeting with the president. the republican study committee came away with two changes to the bill. first giving the states the option to block grant medicaid and also incentives for states to include work requirements for medicaid. do you support those changes? >> sure. i'm on the steering committee of
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the republican committee. i think there are good adaptions. if we can get those through and make them work in the house and also in the senate, i would value that. i think those type of conservative reforms are important. and also believe, though, that we need to be recognized, the political realities of working with those on thother side of the capitol and knowing they have issues inside their states and some of us may not have. there's 500,000 people on medicaid expansion in new jersey alone. so these are important factors. and any thoughtful person into negotiation needs to understand the concerns of everyone involved. >> all right. congressman, i want to draw your attention to a part of the analysis that didn't get a lot of attention last week. 7 million people could lose their employer-backed health insurance over the next decade. particularly those who work for small businesses. what's your reaction to that number? >> well, of course, as you know and cbo says themselves, that
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their projections, frankly -- they haven't been consistent. they haven't been accurate. on page 25 and 26 of the report, they said there are so many variables out there that the outcomes substantially could be far different. so i think you have to look with that understanding in mind that as we saw on the enrollment, in the exchanges, they projected 20 million people, and only 11 million people were enrolled. >> but congressman, certainly the cbo's analysis can be a guide to what could happen. and if we're looking at even just a fraction of those 7 million people who already have health insurance through their employer, potentially losing it, how do you keep that from happening? >> what the cbo didn't take into consideration, forces. that's never a part of the calculation. and the whole objective of our health care plan is to get it out of the hands of the government and create the market dynamics, competive markets. that's really what will drive prices down and make it more
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affordable for evebody. >> is that what your constituents are telling you? >> no, that's what i know. i mean, i know that for -- watching the realities of market forces, market dynamics, whether it's any service or any product or anything. that's what we're trying to accomplish with our health care. you know, we have health care today, and it says -- a number of people are -- they have health care coverage, but they really don't have health care. because the deductibles are so high that they -- they don't utilize their health care. what we want is affordable, real health care that they can actually use. >> well, congressman, just quickly on that point. you talk about market forces bringing down the price of health care. that's not an immediate thing. and we don't know how long that will take. is that a concern among your constituents, that it will take longer than they have, potentially? >> well, the concern is where we are today. when you have insurance companies like humana and aetna and others, humana is going to
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pull out 2018. aetna saying this is an death spiral. we have -- the trajectory for health care today with the current status is not acceptable. it is collapsing. and right now only -- there's a third of the counties in the country that only have one health care provider. so insurance provider. so we don't have a sustaining system. and what we need to do is cree the dynamic of competitive markets. and that in itself will bring prices down and make a product more affordable. >> all right. north carolina congressman, robert pittenger, thanks so much for your time today. members of congress facing tough questions from concerned constituents. joannie ernst is still undecided on the republican proposal. but yesterday she tried to sell her constituents on parts of the bill. >> we can't maintain the current status of the law, because we know that it is -- it's failing already.
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i'm using a process through reconciliation. we won't be able to repeal the entire bill, but what we can do is make improvements. and that's what the ahca is supposed to do. >> town halls getting pretty heated. joining me now to discuss, michael steele, former senior adviser to jeb bush, and house speaker john boehner. and democratic strategist. thank you both for being here. michael, start with you. what's your prediction? does the american health care act get a vote in the house this week, and what happens? >> yeah, certainly expect so. and i expect it will pass. i think that for four elections in a row, every republican candidate has promised to repeal and replace this awful law. they have the opportunity to do that this week and i'm fairly confident they'll take it. >> what specifically does speaker ryan need to do to get these votes? >> he needs to allay the concerns of a small number of conservative members, while also not alienating larger blocks of
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moderate members from states that have usually states that have engaged in a medicaid expansion. >> tara, turning to you. charles krauthammer writes for the "washington post" this week on the repeal, quote, when something is given, say health insurance coverage to 20 million americans, you take it away at your peril. this is true for any government benefit, but especially for health care. are democrats banking on this premise? >> well, i think democrats are banking on the fact that when you look at the affordable care act, as you have seen recently, the polling has changed significantly. the affordable care act people are starting to recognize its impact on their lives, and its value in a way that they had not recognized it before. and part of why they're recognizing it is because of how bad the trumpcare as i call it, the unaffordable care act is. 60 merced 60% of the bankruptcies in this country were related to medical
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bills. and a large proportion of them were people with insurance. so when you look at the affordable care act and the fact it has allowed all of these people to have insurance, but not just any insurance, insurance that gives them a higher protection rate from bankruptcies, higher protections of their health care is actually better. those are things that people realize, because they're now experiencing the benefits of the bills. so the republicans have a very big challenge on their hands. they're on the one hand saying that the markets are collapsing. meanwhile, the cbo has rebutted that. every independent analysis has rebutted that. so they're saying that -- that's a talking point. every major analysis, including the cbo, which is controlled, again, by a republican, by a conservative, is saying that that's not true. the other problem they have on their hand is people's own experiences. people's lives are better and are improving, and their own constituents are coming to these meetings, telling them their stories. and so that's the problem. that's the real challenge that they have on their hands. that every criticism that they
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had about the affordable care act is turning out to be true about trump/ryan care. >> michael, i want to turn to you. there are people out there, small business owners and people who saw their premiums go up recently, who would disagree with that assessment. what's your reaction? >> of course. the problem with the affordable care act is that it's not affordable. you're seeing rising costs across the country. you're seeing coverage without access to care. as our previous guest talked about a little bit. people are having, you know, coverage from medicaid when they can't find a provider that will actually provide them care. that's not what we need. we need health care solutions that are tailored to the individual, flexibility for people, for families, for small businesses and flexibility for the states to design a program that makes sense for their people. >> tara, is there an effort by the republicans to reach out to democrats and discuss any of this? right now all we're hearing about are conversations between republicans. >> well, i used to work for congressman frank pallone and i can tell you, there has been no effort to engage democrats in this process.
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and so that's part of the problem. right? so the -- when the affordabl care act passed, there was 15 months of debate. there was 15 months o the president of the united states, president obama at the time, trying to engage republicans and being rebutted by republicans. there was that famous meeting on television where the republicans were unwilling to compromise on television with the president of the united states on his health care reform bill. so you are -- there is no effort at bipartisanship at this point. it is my way or the highway by the republicans. and so i think, again, the problem is, you say that the affordable care act or as my colleague is saying, doesn't help small businesses. but it actually gives a tax credit to small businesses, the affordable care act gives a tax credit to small businesses to help them purchase insurance for their employees. i'm a small business owner. i actually have that tax credit. the trumpcare does not. it actually repeals that tax credit for small business owners. when you look at coverage, the medicaid expansion, the affordable care act provides a
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medicaid expansion for people who are above the poverty line. those people who are working poor but still can't purchase insurance. that's what the medicaid expansion is for. it's for people who are working. so they're looking to roll back the medicaid expansion. thereby taking care away. the affordable care act actually offers tax credits at a premium rate for people who are -- tax credits at a premium rate, excuse me, for people who are working. who can't bridge that gap. they're trying to roll those tax credits back. and make them based on age instead of being based on income. so you can't make the argument on this new trumpcare is helping people when all the data and all the analysis shows that it actually makes things worse for people. >> let me turn to you, michael, on that. there are some concerns even within the republican party. talk to me a little bit about this legislative process. isn't there a risk, if it goes too quickly it ends up in the
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senate and dies there, because there are republican senators who don't agree with it? >> no, look. we have been looking to replace obamacare on something that will actually lower cts f the american people since the day it was voted theouse. the house republicans voted on alternative back then. they have been offering alternatives. much of last year in the house was spent on speaker ryan's better way agenda, which is the basis of this plan. we have had markups in the energy and commerce committee, the ways and means committee, the house budget committee. there will be amendments on the floor there will be a debate in the senate. every senator is going to have the opportunity to improve this bill if they have concerns about it. i urge them to do that. but at the end of the day, every republican has run on repealing and replacing obamacare, and i have full confidence it will do that. >> michael, would you agree with speaker ryan when he says this is possibly the only chance for republicans to get this passed? >> i think that's probably correct. i also think this is a necessary first step to doing the rest of
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the republican conservative reform agenda. if you want to fix our tax code, create more jobs, all the things we need to do to get this country back on track, this is the first step. >> all right. former john boehner spokes mapp, michael steele, and tara dowdell, thank you both for joining us. the health care fight apparently not the only thing on president trump's mind this saturday. the president tweeting this morning that germany owes vast sums of money to nato, and the united states must be paid more for the powerful and very expensive defense it provides. much more on this latest spat, still ahead. but next, secretary of state rex tillerson now asking china for more help in containing north korea's nuclear program. a closer look at tillerson's strategy and whether it could backfire, straight ahead. ing yok or is it your allergy pills? break through your allergies. introducing flonase sensimist. more complete allergy relief in a gentle mist you may not even notice. using unique mistpro technology,
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welcome back. secretary of state rex tillerson is pushing china for closer cooperation with the u.s. on dealing with north korea's nuclear program. tillerson meeting face-to-face for the first time with top chinese diplomats in beijing. just a day after he said "all options are on the table for dealing with north korea." nbc's janice macke freyr is in beijing with the latest. >> stephanie, china has urged the u.s. to remain cool-headed in its approach to north korea, agreeing the situation is at a dangerous crossroads but warning against the preemptive military strike. the meetings that rex tiller sorch was going to have with chinese officials in beijing were always expected to be a bit prickly but the situation was complicated with a tweet by president trump. that slammed china for not doing enough on north korea. now china's position has alway
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been that it's doing what it can. that it is complying with u.n. sanctions and banned coal imports from the north. that's an important source of revenue for the regime. they want the you see to pursue dialogue with north korea. but tillerson saying years of talks and sanctions haven't worked. here's what else he had to say. >> i think we share a common view and a sense that tensions on the peninsula are quite high right now. and that things have reached a rather dangerous level. and we've committed ourselves to do everything we can to prevent any type of conflict from breaking out. >> china is also strongly opposed to the missile defense system the u.s. is deploying in south korea and possibly expanding to japan. they see it as a strategic threat. so this is a major stumbling block in the u.s./china relations. as well, it's coming tight when
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kim jong-un is threatening a missile capable of reaching the united states and the threat of another nuclear test. these are crucial moves that will be made by the u.s. and china in the days and weeks to come. tomorrow rex tillerson will meet with china's president, xi jinping, who is expected to meet president trump next month. stephanie? >> all right, thank you very much. let me bring in the author of "nucle "nuclear showdown," gordon chang. thank you very much for being here. i want to start first very simply. what is north korea's nuclear capability. >> well, they have three missiles that can hit the lower 48 states. they're not tested, but they're based on proven technologies. within about four years or so, they'll be able to mate a nuclear warhead to them. right now an intermediate range missile so they can hit japan. the one threat we don't talk about, they can take one of their atomic devices, break it
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apart, smuggle it across our borders and set it off in the city they want to. the only reason kim jong-un hasn't killed thousands of americans, he doesn't think it's in his interest to do so. >> do you think americans understand the level of threat? what you're saying right now is fairly new to me. do we have an appreciation for the severity of this? >> yeah, i don't think so. and part of it is because we've gone through a very bruising political process, which is continuing. and so, of course, we're focused on issues at home. like every country does. but nonetheless, this threat has been gathering for a long time. we haven't put it at the top of our list of foreign priorities or at least 1994, when we almost went to war with north korea. so this is really receded to the background. >> but not now. now we have a president who clearly has put it in the foreground. we were told that in conversations with president obama that obama said this was one of the biggest security risks to the country. when you hear secretary tillerson say diplomacy is dead, do you agree with him? >> i think that diplomacy, with
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the way it's carried out, has not worked. and that just is very clear. because the north koreans have been able to use diplomacy and have not been negotiating in good faith. what they have been doing, though, is developing their nukes and their missiles. we need to do something new. clearly, as you said, the last 20 years have produced failure for us. >> i saw you during janice's report, you chuckled almost at the president's tweet, poking an eye a b at china. does that kind of public expression do anything for china? what will be their reaction to something like that? >> they'll probably just roll their eyes. but the one thing they're concerned about with trump is that he just breaks conventions. they don't know whether it will be good for them or it will be bad. and so at this point, i think they're nervous. and we have see jinping coming to florida on april 6th and 7th. that's going to be a real critical test. it's not just north korea. we now have a brewing problem in the south china sea and there are so many issues right now that can't be kicked down the road any more.
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>> you have secretary tillerson talking about all options on the table. when someone says that, we immediately think military option. what does a military option look like? >> we don't really have one. and we're not going to use one. that's standard formulation when dealing with north korea. we have said that in the past, we'll say it in the future. there's 25 million people who live and sold from the militarized zone which separates the two koreas. north korea, there would be numerous casualties in the first hours of a war. we're not doing that. >> that is chilling stuff. thank you very much for joining us. i appreciate it. >> thank you. you are looking live now at jacksonville, florida, where we're awaiting vice president mike pence. we expect the vice president to speak just minutes from now. we'll bring you those remarks when they happen. we'll be right back. (vo) what if this didn't
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nato, just a day after meeting face-to-face with german chancellor angela merkel. the impact of the new tweets after this break. and we're still expecting vice president mike pence to speak in jacksonville, florida, minutes from now. we'll bring you those remarks as they happen. stay with us. this is the silverado special edition. this is one gorgeous truck. oh, did i say there's only one special edition? because, actually there's five. ooohh!! aaaahh!! uh! hooooly mackerel. wow. nice. strength and style. it's truck month. get 0% financing for 60 months plus find your tag and get $5500 on select chevy silverado pick-ups when you finance with gm financial. find new roads at your local chevy dealer. whattwo servings of veggies? v8 or a powdered drink? ready, go. ahhhhhhhh! shake! shake! shake! shake! shake! done! you gotta shake it! i shake it! glad i had a v8. the original way to fuel your day.
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i'm stephanie gosk at the bottom of the hour. vice president mike pence expected to speak minutes from now in jacksonville, florida. pence isected to discuss the gop backedlan to repeal and replace obamacare. comes five days before the house is set to vote on the bill. and the secret service says one person is in custody after they jumped over a bike rack outside of the executive mansion earlier today. the secret service says the suspect never made it to the actual white house fence. just one day after hosting german chancellor angela merkel,
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trump saying he had a great meeting with the chance lar, saying, tweet, germany owes vast sums of money to nato and the united states, must be paid more for the expensive defense it provides to germany, exclamation point. mr. trump railed against nato members, urging them to, quote, pay their fair share. >> i reiterated to chancellor merkel my strong support for nato, as well as the need for our nato allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense. many nations owe vast sums of money from past years. and it is very unfair to the united states. these nations must pay for what they owe. >> for more, we're joeined by kelly o'donnell, fast becoming
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our west palm beach bureau. tough work, kelly. what was your take on that meeting with the german chancellor yesterday? >> reporter: well, good to be with you, stephanie, and it is beautiful here. so it's sort of a reason why the president likes to come to his home in palm beach. it's a lovely day. the tweets set off a way for president trump to try to, again, control the narrative. seeing some of the coverage, reading the media reports that showed some questions about the interaction between himself and german chancellor angela merkel. there were a number of data points during their visit that suggested it was far more tense and contentious than friendly. now the president is qualifying it as great, and we, of course, weren't able to see the private conversations, and angela merkel herself said it is certainly more beneficial to speak face-to-face than to talk about each other at a distance. what we are talking about on
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real divisions on issues like immigration, also on nato. so the president is saying that there are a number of member nations who do not pay their fair share. that is true. most member nations do not pay the 2% of gdp that's required. but it is not a rolling balance, where they actually owe money to nato. and so there is a little bit of a mischaracterization of how that works. but the president has been saying on this issue, on trade imbalances, that the u.s. is just not treated fairly in the world and he tried to make that argument with the german chancellor. stephanie? >> all right. nbc's kelly o'donnell, west palm beach, florida, thank you very much. in just two days, fbi director james comey is set to testify before the house intelligence committee. and could perhaps put the entire wiretapping saga behind him. wishful thinking. after a defiant president trump stuck to his accusation and provoked a rare public dispute with our closest ally.
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sean spicer repeated a unsubstantialed claim that britain helped carry out the surveillance on trump tower at the request of former president obama. this morning, trump's own deputy head of the nsa called those allegations, quote, errant, nonsense and just crazy. the british intelligence service issued a rare public scolding, calling the allegation ridiculous, while claiming the trump administration promised to never repeat it. but sean spicer offered no apology, telling reporters, "i don't think we regret anything." it all came as the president hosted angela merkel and attempted to deflect blame over the allegation made against britain by pointing a finger at fox news and trying to be funny at the same time. >> at least we have something in common, perhaps. we said nothing. all we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was
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the one resnsible for saying that on television. i didn't make an opinion on it. that was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on fox. and so you shouldn't be talking to me. you should be talking to fox. >> fox news in turn distanced itself from the report first made by one of its own analysts. >> fox news cannot confirm judge napolitano's commentary. fox news knows of any evidence of any kind that the now president of the united states was surveilled at any time in any way. full stop. >> and now just days before -- we're going to wrap here for a second, because i'm being told that mike pence has now just started to speak in jacksonville, florida. we'll take those comments now live. >> hello, florida! i want to thank you, governor, for that kind introduction. he's been a friend for many years. and ladies and gentlemen, how
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about that governor, rick scott? florida is incredibly fortunate to have a leader like rick scott. since he took office he signed over 50 tax cuts, balanced the bemidji-walkeret year after year, and helped create more than 1.3 million jobs, one of the fastest growing state economies in america. the sun is definitely shining on the florida state with governor rick scott. give him another round of applause, would you please? governor, i have to tell you, president trump and i are proud. proud to partner with you, to make america great again. the same goes with the others re. mayor lengthy curry, thank you for joining us. and seema verma, such a
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privilege to have you here. i had the honor of swearing her in this past tuesday as the 15th administrator of america's center for medicaid and medicaid services. she happens to be a hoosier. and she's one of the leading health care experts in the country. and she's going to do an incredible job for people all across this country. thank all these public servants. . see with confidence sema verma is going to help make health care great again. and i want to thank you so much for your service, sema. more than i could tell you. i'm incredibly proud. now it is a great privilege to be with all of you today back in this great sunshine state. last fall, thanks to all of you, thanks to your hard work, your support, and your prayers, the people of florida voted to make donald trump the 45th president of the united states of america.
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florida made a difference. and the president asked me to stop by, just to give his personal thanks. each and every one of you. hard-working americans, like all of you, were our biggest supporters. and on behalf of the president, his family, and on behalf of my little family, thank you, florida. your votes have sent us on a path to make america great again. and we're here to say thanks. it was quite a campaign, wasn't it? it's already been quite an administration. greatest honor of my life to serve as vice president to president donald trump. he's my friend. he's a man who loves his family. he loves this country. boundless energy and optimism. broad shoulders and a big heart. and thanks i want to express on his behalf, as well. to all the great business owners
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who are with us here today. we enjoyed a great conversation today. about the issue that i'll talk more about in just a moment. join me in thanking these great job-creators in jacksonville. thank you for sharing your candid feedback about what we can do to help you grow jobs right here in jacksonville. give them all a word of thanks. last but not least, i want to thank mack mcgee and the whole mac paper team for hosting us here today. and mac, your family now for three generations have been a pillar in the jacksonville community for over 50 years. and today you have over 600 employees spread across nine states. you only get that way when you're doing something right. and you're doing it for a long time. the president and i thank you for all that you do. and let's give the whole mac paper team a big round of applause for the great, great success in the job they have created here.
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and let me assure you, all the job-creators, people who work with businesses large and small. president trump, i can assure you, president trump is going to be the best friend american small business will ever have. you know, i grew up in a small business. a small business family, actually, in a small town in southern indiana. a gas station business. i was a -- i started working as a gas station attendant at one of my father's gas stations when i was only 14 years of age. and for you young people in the room, we'll explain later what a gas station attendant actually used to do. as the whole world knows, the president also grew up in a family business too. we actually both know, because of our life experiences in our families, we know the sacrifices that are required to make a business work. and more importantly, we know that when small business is
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strong, america is strong. and president trump is going to fight for small business america, just as he's done from day one. we want to create jobs and prosperity and growth in america like never before. and small business is going to be the lion's share of that. just look at what the president has already done. on day one, president trump went straight to work. rolling back reams of red tape. he has instructed literally every agency in washington, d.c. to find two regulations to get rid of before they issue any new federal red tape on job creators in america. he's taken decisive action already to protect american jobs and american workers by ending illegal immigration once and for all. he also took action recently when he authorized the keystone and dakota pipelines that will create thousands of jobs and
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protect america's energy future. you know, in businesses already responding to president trump's buy american, hire american vision with optimism and investment from coast to coast, governor scott will back me up on this. companies are announcing they're keeping jobs here. they're creating new jobs. tens of thousands of them. just last month, the american economy added 235,000 new jobs, and we are just getting started. under president trump's leadership, and working with great congressman like your congressman, john rutherford, we're going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses and family farms. we're going to keep slashing through red tape. we're going to reign in unelected bureaucrats so they can't cripple the economy from the comfort of their taxpayer-funded metal desks in washington, d.c.
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and because you hired a builder to be president of the united states, we're going to rebuild this country so that florida and every other state has the resources to have the best roads, the best bridges, the best highways, the best airports and the best future we could ever imagine with the infrastructure that we need. but making america great again doesn't just mean our economy. president trump has no higher priority, i can assure you. and the safety and security of the american people. over the past year, the american people watched in horror as terror struck orlando and fort lauderdale. our support and our prayers have been with you ever since. for that matter, i can assure you, our resolve. rest assured, president trump will continue to take steps every single day to protect our nation, protect our way of life
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and protect and prevent attacks by radical islamic terrorism in this country again. your former sheriff knows in his heart what people also know. president donald trump is standing with the men and women who serve in law enforcement in this country as never before. some of you are sitting, a lot of you are standing. would you all mine getting on your feet and thanking the men and women in law enforcement here with us today? i promise you, under president trump's leadership, we're going to make sure the men and women who serve in law enforcement have the resources and the training and the tools that they
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need to protect our families and go home safe to theirs. the president has also taken steps to secure our nation. to secure our borders. which means building a wall, enforcing our laws, beginning with insuring as the president said before congress, the gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities are off the streets of florida and out of this country. and while we talk about security, this last thursday president trump unveiled his budget. it's a budget that at its very heart will end the era of budget cuts for our armed forces. we will rebuild our military. we wl restore the arsenal of democracy. we will give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guard the resources that they need to accomplish their mission and come home safe.
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that i promise you. and lastly, by nominating judge neil gorsuch, president trump has kept his word to appoint a justice to the supreme court of the united states who will keep faith with the constitution and uphold the god-given liberties that have been enshrined there for now more than two centuries. so we have been busy. we have been busy. my friends, president trump is a man of his word, and he's a man of action. and i believe he'll make america great again. and make no mistake about it. the obamacare nightmare is about to end. it's amazing. really amazing to think about.
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virtually every promise they made about obamacare, when it was passed into law, has been broken. we all remember what they were. remember? they told us the cost of health insurance would go down. not true. they told us if you liked your doctors, you could keep them. not true. they told if you liked your health plan, you could keep it. not true. just the other day, i joined president trump to listen to hard-working americans who suffered from these broken promises. they told us in visceral and emotional terms, the stories that i heard from business leaders today. skyrocketing premiums. unaffordable deductibles. fewer choices, higher taxes. they told us just like these employers did today about the hard choices that they have had to make. about how obamacare is standing in the way of not only their companies' aspirations but the hopes ask dreams of the people that work there and desire to work there. it was heart-breaking conversation then and now. and they're not alone.
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think about it. just last year, premiums following obamacare spiked by 25%, on average, across america. millions have lost their plans, and one-third of the nation's counties, americans only have one insurance company to choose from. which essentially means they have no choice at all. given all the failings, it's no wonder that 400,000 fewer people enrolled in obamacare this year. now your governor, i can tell you, has been remarkable on this. he mentioned just a few moments ago, we actually met when as a private citizen, rick scott, was fighting against obamacare before it ever became law. and rick, let me thank you for that. thank you for your ongoing leadership. as governor rick scott said recently, and he knew this from the fight we fought then and the fight you fout every day since that obamacare was in his word,
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sold on a lie. and in his typical plain spoken way, governor scott said it just plain doesn't work. and he was right. you know, florida is actually a textbook example of everything that's wrong with obamacare. here in the sunshine state, obamacare premiums rose by 19% last year. with some increasing by nearly 40%. over 400,000 floridans were scheduled to lose their plans at the start of this year. and nearly three quarters, 75% of the state, has no choice at all when it comes to health insurance. the truth is, florida can't afford obamacare any more. and job creators in florida can't afford it either. i heard it. i heard it earlier today. the small businesses represented here, they told me that obamacare hits them with mandates, with regulations, with higher taxes, and higher costs.
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mac piper is actually a great case in point. since obamacare went into effect, mac was telling me they have been forced to spend more than $300,000, not on jobs, not on investments that will create more jobs, but on just trying to comply with this failed law. that's just not right. that money would have been better invested in your workers, mac. and i know that's where you would have liked to have invested it. in payroll and benefits stephon the failed policies of obamacare. men and women, this can't continue. every day that obamacare survives is another day the american people and american businesses are struggling. obamacare has failed, and obamacare must go. since the day florida helped send donald trump to the white
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house, he has been focused on replacing obamacare with something that actually works. we know that the core -- the core flaw of obamacare was -- is this notion that you could order every american to buy health insurance, whether they want it or needed it or not. that was never the answer. a few days ago in nashville, president trump actually called that obamacare's quote, fatal flaw. the president couldn't be more right. that's why we're going to end this flaw. we're going to replace it with real solutions built on freedom, personal responsibility and state flexibility and reform. that's what works. and that's what president trump's plan for health care reform will do. for the american people. we're going to begin, though -- we're going to begin by repealing obamacare's taxes. we're going to end its mandates by eliminating the penalties. we're going to give americans more choices. we're going to expand health savings accounts for every american. we're going to give americans a
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tax credit that will help them buy the coverage they need at a price they can afford. and we're also going to do it with what the president likes to call big heart. we're going to make sure that americans with preexisting conditions still have access to the coverage that they need. and you fellow parents out there, with kids under the age of 26, i have three. we'll make sure you can keep your kids on your insurance until they're 26 years of age. now, folks, what i just laid out is only a small glimpse of everything our plan will do. the bill moving through the congress, the american health care act, is an important step in the right direction. we're working around the clock withongressman rutherford and others in the republican majority in the house and senate, and with leaders here in florida to make this bill even better. president trump laid out a few key elements just yesterday with members of congress in the oval office, and we're going to continue to work with members of congress to improve this bill.
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it's what the legislative process is all about. and we're going to do a couple of different things with a few recent amendments worth mentioning. and are owing in part to the engagement we had with congress. first off, we're going to stop any more states from expanding medicaid and adding a burden to future generations. we're going to give states the option of block grants of medicaid to the states, so states like florida cannin no vaft and design medicaid around the unique needs of the people in this community, and we're going to allow states like florida to include a work requirement for able-bodied adults insuring that medicaid's benefits are available to those who need them most. these are all common sense solutions, added to this legislation in a vigorous debate on capitol hill. and under the president's leadership we'll continue to listen intently for ways to make this even better.
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just yesterday, president trump made it clear. he supports the bill 100%. and we all do. every day, more and mor members of congress are getting on board. and as we work to pass this first bill, rest assured, our administration is also working with dr. tom price over at health and human services, and with seema verma at the center of medicaid services to give states like the florida the freedom and flexibility to help your most vulnerable in the ways that are going to be best for you. just this past week, they sent a letter to governor scott and other state leaders around the country saying, and i quote, that a new era for federal and state medicaid partnership has begun. and so it has. you know, the fact is, and i say this as a governor state of indiana, the fact is, florida is a unique state with unique needs. and this administration know, it's state-based solutions
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designed by your governor, are the best way to give better coverage and get better health care outcomes, particularly for the most vulnerable citizens across the state of florida. and under president trump's leadership, lastly, just know this. we're going to give the american people the freedom to buy health insurance across state lines. the way you buy life insurance, the way you buy car insurance. that's the combination. president trump and i know that the way to lower costs is to increase choices. to create a dynamic national marketplace. and that's what our plan will do. probably won't be too long before you see flo and some little lizard on television selling health insurance. and that's the american way. and let me say a couple of thingso you before i slip off and get on that plane and head back south with your governor. want to assure the people of florida, we're going to have an
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orderly transition to a better health care system in america. that makes affordable, high-quality health insurance accessible for every american. be assured. be clear on this, though, folks. this is going to be a battle in washington, d.c. all right? obamacare's defenders are working hard. so we have to work harder. and we're counting on florida. we need every republican in florida to support this bill and support the president's plan to repeal and replace obamacare. and president trump and i -- president trump and i are confident, we're confident that with your support, florida will be there and we will repeal and replace obamacare once and for all.
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you know, it really is remarkable, this time we find ourselves in. a time of renewed hope and boundless opportunity for the american people. i think we're at a pivotal moment in our nation's history that started last november the 8th. in this moment, though, i want to leave you with a challenge. we need every freedom-loving american who knew we could be stronger, who knew we could be better, who knew we could stand tall again, to yourselves stand up and speak out. it's time that we demanded government is as good as our people. we need you to tell the world we can do better. that we're renewing and restoring this country. that we're putting it back on a path to a brighter future. tell your nghbors and your friends, stop people outside the drugstore. st let them know how strongly you support the president's vision for this country, particularly when it comes to health care.

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